Sebelius Finally Admits Premiums Will Rise as a Result of ObamaCare – Katie Pavlich

Sebelius Finally Admits Premiums Will Rise as a Result of ObamaCare – Katie Pavlich.

bummercare-e1352561798629Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is finally admitting that the Affordable Care Act isn’t actually that affordable. Think tanks have been warning for years about the expensive cost of ObamaCare and many have already seen their health insurance premiums rise as a result of its implementation yet, the administration has denied the bill will actually increase costs for consumers until now.

Some people purchasing new insurance policies for themselves this fall could see premiums rise because of requirements in the health-care law, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters Tuesday.

Ms. Sebelius’s remarks come weeks before insurers are expected to begin releasing rates for plans that start on Jan. 1, 2014, when key provisions of the health law kick in. Premiums have been a sensitive subject for the Obama administration, which is counting on elements in the health law designed to increase competition among insurers to keep rates in check. The administration has pointed to subsidies that will be available for many lower-income Americans to help them with the cost of coverage.

The secretary’s remarks are among the first direct statements from federal officials that people who have skimpy health plans right now could face higher premiums for plans that are more generous. She noted that the law requires plans to provide better benefits and treat all customers equally regardless of their medical claims.

“These folks will be moving into a really fully insured product for the first time, and so there may be a higher cost associated with getting into that market,” she said. “But we feel pretty strongly that with subsidies available to a lot of that population that they are really going to see much better benefit for the money that they’re spending.”

smugpackageMost people who have “skimpy plans” have them because they either a) don’t need a fancy health insurance plan b) can’t afford a health insurance plan. Forcing consumers into plans they don’t need or can’t afford is counter productive. Not to mention, Sebelius argues consumers will see a “much better benefit for the money that they’re spending.” Better benefits? Does she mean better benefits of having fewer doctors?

Most physicians have a pessimistic outlook on the future of medicine, citing eroding autonomy and falling income, a survey of more than 600 doctors found.

Six in 10 physicians (62 percent) said it is likely many of their colleagues will retire earlier than planned in the next 1 to 3 years, a survey from Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found. That perception is uniform across age, gender, and specialty, it said.

Another 55 percent of surveyed doctors believe others will scale back hours because of the way medicine is changing, but the survey didn’t elaborate greatly on how it was changing. Three-quarters think the best and brightest may not consider a career in medicine, although that is an increase from the 2011 survey result of 69 percent.

“Physicians recognize ‘the new normal’ will necessitate major changes in the profession that require them to practice in different settings as part of a larger organization that uses technologies and team-based models for consumer (patient) care,” the survey’s findings stated.

About two-thirds of the survey responders said they believe physicians and hospitals will become more integrated in coming years. In the last 2 years, 31 percent moved into a larger practice, results found. Nearly eight in 10 believe midlevel providers will play a larger role in directing primary care.

A51n45ECEAA-RuMOr how about the better benefits of fewer life saving medical devices thanks to the innovation and job killing medical device tax in ObamaCare?

Biomedical or medical device engineering firms are already laying off workers who develop crucial medical products due to the “unforeseen” costs, or in other words, the costs of ObamaCare. Not to mention, the more money these companies pay to the government, the less money they have to invest in research and development.

The Obama administration is no longer trying to lie about ObamaCare, instead they’re simply trying to justify the lies by making everyone feel better about the so-called benefits ObamaCare will offer at a much higher price.

 

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Paying for Propaganda. – Tea Party Nation

Paying for Propaganda. – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Judson Phillips

If you were offered the chance to help pay for the Obama Regime’s propaganda, what would your answer be?

 It would probably be a one, two or three word answer.  It would be no, hell no, or we will let you figure out the third answer.

 The bad news is you are paying for propaganda for the Regime. 

 All of the major agencies in the Federal Government have employees who are public relations specialists.  However, that does not stop them from spending money on outside PR firms.

 According to information from one United States Senator, in the last three years, the Department of Health and Human Services alone has spent an estimated $183 million on contracts for advertising, market research and public opinion, public relations and “media representatives.”

 Anyone remember the Andy Griffith commercial touting how great the Obamacare tax law is?

 Those are your tax dollars at work.

 The figure of $183 million is only an estimate. 

 Why?

 Because Senate investigators had to go back through records to try and figure out what HHS had spent.  Why did Senate investigators have to do this?  Because the Department of Health and Human Services under Kathleen Sebelius would not answer the request for information from two United States Senators. 

 The Senators, Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Claire McCaskill wanted information about HHS’ spending on advertising.

 This story gets worse because it has been illegal for some time for government agencies to hire firms for PR.  The latest incarnation of that law, the Consolidate Appropriations Act of 2012 says that, “No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used … for publicity or propaganda purposes.”

 As with all other issues, the Obama Regime believes it is above the law.  As with all other issues, the Obama Regime simply ignores Congress’ legally mandated oversight authority.

 Half the problem here is the Republicans in Congress. 

 Instead of standing up to Obama, they meekly hide in the corner and allow him to continue to get away with violating the law. 

 For a year and a half, since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, we have had the tool we need to stop Obama.

 All the House has to do is defund anything it does not like.  Defund the Department of Health and Human Services.   That would stop Obama and Sebelius from spending money on propaganda. 

 Unfortunately the Republicans in Washington have shown less courage than the French Army and John Boehner has raised his freshly laundered white flag of surrender more often than the French would. 

 If you wonder why we are broke, here is the answer.  We have out of control spending by a Regime who believes the public treasure is a part of their reelection campaign and we have a gutless Republican leadership in Washington who could stop them but simply will not.

WOLF: Kathleen, I’ve got a feeling you’re still in Kansas – Washington Times

WOLF: Kathleen, I’ve got a feeling you’re still in Kansas – Washington Times.

Republicans embrace big-government health care Sebelius left behind

By Dr. Milton R. Wolf – The Washington Times

Liberals are a curious breed. They actually believe the government can mandate you into prosperity. They wave a magic wand, and the universe bends to their whim. At the end of each day, they rest their weary heads blissfully – willfully – unaware of the damage they cause.

Witness Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Before she was wielding the iron fist of power granted to her by Obamacare, she was the Kansas’ governor and, before that, the Kansas insurance commissioner. Health insurance mandates were her stock in trade, and with each new government dictate, Kansans saw their premiums increase. No matter how well-intentioned, the very nature of a mandate is that it forces consumers to buy something they don’t want, or why the need for a mandate? It’s unavoidable, then, that Kansas families’ costs increased and many simply could no longer afford insurance.

The net result? Mrs. Sebelius chased nearly a dozen health insurance companies out of the state, leaving behind 40,000 Kansans who no longer had health insurance. That President Obama would choose her to head HHS and implement Obamacare is telling and terrifying.

I reject the demonstrably destructive government-mandate approach to health care. Unfortunately, Mrs. Sebelius‘ ghost still haunts Kansas, and it’s the Republicans who are giving it life.

The Republican-dominated Kansas House of Representatives recently passed yet another Sebelius-style health insurance mandate, by an overwhelming margin, 92-30. The party that claims to stand against government-run health care is nonetheless voting for the government to run health care. The Republican-controlled Senate will take up the issue and, presumably, send it to Republican Gov. (and former presidential aspirant) Sam Brownback.

Proponents of these health care mandates always have sympathy on their side, and often good intentions, but little else. This particular mandate favors autistic children, and who doesn’t feel compelled to help anyone in need, particularly a child? Yet, as these politically popular mandates are imposed and health insurance premiums skyrocket, patients (and their family budgets) suffer.

I’ve been asked, by self-described conservatives, no less, how I can turn my back on children with autism. Excuse me? Having dedicated my life to serving patients and, like most doctors – and this is not an exaggeration – having freely donated my time to the needy probably every single day I work, I know their question reflects more upon them than me. But I also realize it is emotional appeals like this that quickly persuade squishy conservatives to do the bidding of big-government liberals. But the response to this tactic should be obvious.

How can the supporters of government mandates turn their backs on mothers with breast cancer or grandfathers with strokes or children with leukemia? Among the 40,000 Kansans priced out of health insurance by the toll of mandates were these very patients – and many others. The big-government crowd may be blissfully unaware of the damage their well-intentioned mandates cause, but the patients left behind without insurance know it all too well.

The mandate crowd claims it’s the “greed” of health insurance companies that leads them to “discriminate” against this year’s cause, but does that make sense? Is there a single company – or person, for that matter – who isn’t interested in maximizing its income? Surely auto insurance companies are just as greedy as health insurance companies, yet auto premiums stay low while health premiums explode. What’s the difference? Are we to believe auto insurance companies are run by altruistic angels but health insurance companies are run by greedy devils?

Kansans are allowed to purchase car insurance directly from any provider across the country, and you won’t find state mandates that force your auto insurance company to cover windshield-wiper blade replacements or oil changes. You also won’t find tax penalties that coerce you into buying auto insurance through your employer rather than on your own, but that’s another story.

So which is more effective at keeping costs lower and serving Kansans – the big-government health insurance mandates or the auto insurance free-market approach? Is there a single person who believes we have an auto insurance crisis in America?

All companies are greedy, if by greed you mean they hope to maximize profits. But the best antidote to greed is not government, it’s competition. Allow Kansans, in fact all Americans, to purchase whatever health insurance they choose. Quit dividing patients into political blocs. Eliminate all state mandates (and the tax penalties for directly purchasing insurance rather than employment-based, but again, that’s another story.)

State mandates, by their very nature, eliminate competition. It’s ironic that supporters of mandates don’t realize – or perhaps they do – that their approach creates oligopolies within each state where only a few large companies can operate and artificially drive up prices. The free-market approach, on the other hand, opens the door to innovative companies like Geico and Progressive, which have revolutionized auto insurance.

Every state faces this dilemma between destructive but poll-driven big-government mandates and demonstrably effective free-market reforms. If Kansas, one of the reddest of the red states – with a Republican-controlled House, a Republican-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled governor’s mansion – can’t stop the Barack Obama-Kathleen Sebelius government-knows-best approach to health care, which state can?

Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.

WOLF: Democrats sneak Uncle Sam into your bedroom – Washington Times

WOLF: Democrats sneak Uncle Sam into your bedroom – Washington Times.

They give donors, political allies at Big Pharma a wet kiss

By Dr. Milton R. Wolf – The Washington Times

Pop quiz: What is the most expensive lunch you can buy? Answer: The one someone convinces you is free. Ask your average fifth-grader if there’s such thing as a free lunch. Now ask a Democrat. Care to wager who’s smarter? Another quiz: How can Democrats avoid discussions of Obamacare’s growing price tag, the failed stimulus, green job boondoggles, unemployment, bank bailouts, auto takeovers, food stamps, credit downgrades and soaring gas prices? Answer: Claim that Republicans want to steal your girly parts.

When the going gets tough, the left gets predictable. Democrats’ false promises of big-government utopia have collapsed once again and so they retreat to their well-worn playbook, which really only has three plays: class warfare, an overcharged race card and an equally overcharged gender card. Throw in some good old-fashioned corporate boondoggles and voila! Democrats have their re-election plan.

Under the sweeping powers of Obamacare, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is empowered to reach into our churches and direct how they will practice their religion. Yawn. Just another day under President Obama’s authoritarian regime. But why harass churches? Because, as New York Democrat Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney claims, there’s a “Republican crusade to limit access to birth control. …” There is?

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a spinoff of Planned Parenthood, “Virtually all women (more than 99 percent) aged 15-44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method.” This is a crisis of limited access?

Democrats showcased Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke and her plea for a $3,000 birth control free lunch. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart and Target pharmacies offer $9-a-month birth control – $108 a year. Why the wild difference? Because Democrats can’t enrich their cronies on a mere hundred bucks a year.

The new HHS provisions make no distinction between high-end, expensive birth control and generic versions. This is the big wet kiss to Big Pharma. They get rich much quicker collecting $3,000 for each coed instead of a measly $108. So Ms. Fluke gets a free lunch? Well, not quite. Somebody’s got to pay the increased taxes, higher insurance premiums and – mark my words – increased contraception costs. So the government simply transfers those bills to someone else, like the janitors at Georgetown Law, for example, who humbly clean up after spoiled kids. I’ll bet those janitors buy their own birth control at Wal-Mart without whining. But Ms. Fluke is entitled and I’m sure she’s worth it.

This corporate boondoggle that turns Big Pharma into a welfare recipient on the backs of the working class is not so different than the light bulb ban. General Electric gets rich much quicker if Ms. Fluke’s janitors are forced to buy $5 compact-fluorescent light bulbs instead of the 50-cent incandescent version. But it’s for the environment, right? That GE and Big Pharma contribute generously to Mr. Obama is just a mere coincidence.

Do you see the pattern here? Democrats solve the global warming “crisis” (even though the globe forgot to warm) and the “limit” on birth control access (even with essentially 100 percent access already achieved) always by making their friends richer, you poorer and themselves more powerful.

There’s another pattern here. Politicians are like drug dealers. Once you’re addicted to freebies, you suddenly realize the free lunch is not so free. Like the drug dealers, the politicians want your money, to be sure, but what they really covet is your submission. They love telling you what to do and they always claim it’s for your own good.

Think about it. The U.S. Constitution grants no authority to the federal government – and, in fact, the 10th Amendment prohibits it – to declare how fast you can drive your car or when you can buy your first beer or how many vegetable servings you must pack in your kid’s school lunch. And yet they still do all these things. How? By dangling highway funds or education grants like a carrot. Take that bait and you’ll soon learn in the fine print that you surrendered control of everything from how much water your toilet can flush to what websites your computer can access. And now the contraception free lunch is the politicians’ key to your bedroom door. Do you trust them with it?

Of course, Democrats assume there will always be an endless supply of birth control pills to dole out. But should they? The current prescription drug shortage epidemic is essentially limited to the medications that are most highly regulated by the government: injectable chemotherapies and antibiotics.

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert,” economist Milton Friedman famously said, “in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.” Well I say, if you put the federal government in charge of birth control, there will be another shortage soon. We’ll call it the Obama Baby Boom.

Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.

Sebelius: Obamacare Not the Cause of Drop in Employer-Sponsored Health Care | The Weekly Standard

Sebelius: Obamacare Not the Cause of Drop in Employer-Sponsored Health Care | The Weekly Standard.

As Bloomberg reported in September of last year, “Sixty percent of employers said they offered medical benefits this year, a decrease from 69 percent in 2010.” Yet today, in testimony on Capitol HillHealth and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that Obamacare is not the reason there’s been a drop in employer-sponsored health care coverage:

This was the question asked by Illinois congressman Peter Roskam: “How about when the president said you can keep your health care coverage if you like it? And yet, the reality is, according to Bloomberg at least, 9 percent fewer businesses are offering medical coverage than in 2010. There the rhetoric didn’t meet the reality, did it?”

Sebelius responded, “Well again, Congressman, what you’re seeing – It wouldn’t have mattered if we had passed the Affordable Care Act or not. The private market is in a death spiral.”

Sebelius’s testimony directly contradicts a McKinsey study released last year. “At least 30 percent of employers are likely to stop offering health insurance once provisions of the U.S. health care reform law kick in in 2014, according to a study by consultant McKinsey,” Reuters reported. “McKinsey, which based its projection on a survey of more than 1,300 employers of various sizes and industries and other proprietary research, found that 30 percent of employers will ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ stop offering coverage in the years after 2014, when new medical insurance exchanges are supposed to be up and running.”

‘To Stop the Multiplication of the Unfit’ – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative

 

Margaret Higgins Sanger

Margaret Higgins Sanger (Photo credit: cliff1066™)

‘To Stop the Multiplication of the Unfit’ – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative.

If you aren’t creeped out by the No Birth Control Left Behind rhetoric of the White House and Planned Parenthood, you aren’t listening closely enough. The anesthetic of progressive benevolence always dulls the senses. Wake up.

When a bunch of wealthy white women and elite Washington bureaucrats defend the trampling of religious liberties in the name of “increased access” to “reproductive services” for “poor” women, the ghost of Margaret Sanger is cackling.

As she wrote in her autobiography, Sanger founded Planned Parenthood in 1916 “to stop the multiplication of the unfit.” This, she boasted, would be “the most important and greatest step towards race betterment.” While she oversaw the mass murder of black babies, Sanger cynically recruited minority activists to front her death racket. She conspired with eugenics financier and businessman Clarence Gamble to “hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities” to sell their genocidal policies as community health and welfare services.

Outright murder wouldn’t sell. But wrapping it under the egalitarian cloak of “women’s health” — and adorning it with the moral authority of black churches — would. Sanger and Gamble called their deadly campaign “The Negro Project.”

In other writings, historian Mike Perry found, Sanger attacked programs that provided “medical and nursing facilities to slum mothers” because they “facilitate the function of maternity” when “the absolute necessity is to discourage it.” In an essay included in her writing collection held by the Library of Congress, Sanger urged her abortion clinic colleagues to “breed a race of thoroughbreds.” Nationwide “birth control bureaus” would propagate the proper “science of breeding” to stop impoverished, non-white women from “breeding like weeds.”

Speaking with CBS veteran journalist Mike Wallace in 1957, long after her racist views had supposedly mellowed, Sanger again revealed her true colors: “I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world — that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin — that people can — can commit.”

Sanger also elaborated on her anti-Catholic animus, telling one of Wallace’s reporters that New York Catholics had no right to protest the use of their tax dollars for birth city birth-control programs: “(I)t’s not only wrong, it should be made illegal for any religious group to prohibit dissemination of birth control — even among its own members.” When Wallace pressed her (“In other words, you would like to see the government legislate religious beliefs in a certain sense?”), Sanger laughed nervously and disavowed the remarks.

Fast forward: Five decades and 16 million aborted black babies later, Planned Parenthood’s insidious agenda has migrated from inner-city “birth control bureaus” to public school-based health clinics to the White House — forcibly funded with taxpayer dollars just as Sanger championed.

Several undercover stings by Live Action, pro-life documentarians, have exposed Planned Parenthood staff accepting donations over the years from callers posing as eugenics cheerleaders who wanted to earmark their contributions for the cause of aborting minority babies. “We can definitely designate it for an African-American,” a Tulsa, Okla., Planned Parenthood employee eagerly promised.

What has cheap, easy and unmonitored “choice” for poor women in inner cities wrought? Nightmares like the Philadelphia Horror, where serial baby-killer Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his abortion clinic death squad oversaw the systematic execution of hundreds of healthy, living, breathing, squirming, viable black and Hispanic babies over 40 decades — along with several minority mothers who may have lost their lives in his grimy birth control bureau.

City and state authorities looked the other way while jars of baby parts and reports of botched abortions and infanticides piled up. Beltway Democrats who now bray about their concern for “women’s health” were silent about the Gosnell massacre and countless others like it in America‘s ghettos. Why?

The Obama administration is crawling with the modern-day heirs of the eugenics movement, from Planned Parenthood golden girl Kathleen Sebelius at the Department of Health and Human Services to the president’s prestigious science czar John Holdren — an outspoken proponent of forced abortions and mass sterilizations and a self-proclaimed protege of eugenics guru Harrison Brown, whom he credits with inspiring him to become a scientist.

Brown envisioned a government regime in which the “number of abortions and artificial inseminations permitted in a given year would be determined completely by the difference between the number of deaths and the number of births in the year previous.” He urged readers to “reconcile ourselves to the fact that artificial means must be applied to limit birth rates.” He likened the global population to a “pulsating mass of maggots.”

Listen carefully as this White House dresses its Obamacare abortion mandate in the white lab coat of “reproductive services” for all. The language of “access to birth control” is the duplicitous code of Sanger’s ideological grim reapers.

Obamacare’s Fatal Flaws – By Grace-Marie Turner – Critical Condition – National Review Online

Obamacare’s Fatal Flaws – By Grace-Marie Turner – Critical Condition – National Review Online.

Congress made a serious drafting error in the health-overhaul law when it said that subsidies could be delivered through state exchanges but not through any federal fallback exchanges. (Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute wrote about this in the Wall Street Journal recently.) The Obama administration has been trying an end-run around the problem by ordering the IRS to simply say in its proposed regulations that the subsidies can be delivered through either type of exchange. This is a big issue because a growing number of states are refusing to create exchanges. If they don’t, the feds can come in and set one up, but these will be relatively useless if they can’t deliver subsidies.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, this week blew the whistle on the proposed IRS rule. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, Hatch says the law is clear that only state exchanges can offer the subsidies, emphasizing that the administration doesn’t have the authority to go beyond the language of the law.

“Contrary to the clear wording of the statute, your proposed regulations suggest otherwise, extending the availability of premium credits to those participating in federal exchanges,” Hatch wrote. “I am concerned that if finalized, these rules would exceed your regulatory authority, violating the Constitution’s separation of powers.”

One more reason to throw the law overboard.

SICKER EMPLOYEES COULD BE SHOVED OUT
Two University of Minnesota law professors write that Obamacare actually provides incentives for “targeted employer dumping” of sicker workers into taxpayer-subsidized health exchanges. The article — “Will employers undermine health care reform by dumping sick employees?” by Amy Monahan and Daniel Schwarcz — explains how companies could redesign their health benefit programs to make it more costly for sicker employees to stay with the company health plan and encourage them to opt instead for the exchanges.

Monahan and Schwarcz write that this “would expose these exchanges to adverse selection caused by the entrance of a disproportionately high-risk segment of the population into the insured pool.” They conclude, “Not only would this undermine the spirit of health care reform, but it would jeopardize the sustainability of the insurance exchanges.” (NPR had a good story about the threat yesterday.)

In spite of this, senior HHS officials have said it would be a good thing for employers to “dump [their] people into the exchange.” Speaker Pelosi talked favorably about Obamacare as a way “for businesses to be emancipated from health care costs because they have a way out or whatever works for them.”

The only problem is that it would not be good for sicker employees, who would have greater difficulty finding physicians to see them under what surely will be lower payment rates in the exchanges, and it would be bad for taxpayers, who will have a much bigger bill to pay for exchange subsidies.

A second reason to jettison the law.

MORE LOST JOBS
A Michigan-based medical device company, Stryker, announced that it would be shedding “five percent of its workforce over concerns about the impending 2.3 percent medical device tax prescribed by” Obamacare.

A press release from the Kalamazoo company noted that “the targeted reductions [i.e., layoffs] … are being initiated … in advance of the new medical device excise tax scheduled to begin in 2013” under Obamacare.

With jobs creation the top priority of the American people, this is definitely not good news.

And the list of reasons to dump Obamacare goes on and on.

President Obama’s top 10 constitutional violations | The Daily Caller

President Obama’s top 10 constitutional violations | The Daily Caller.

By

Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute

 

 

One of the biggest political changes that 2011 brought — in large part due to the tea parties and their effect on the 2010 election — is the centrality of the Constitution to our public discourse. Lawmakers and citizens no longer consider simply whether a given bill or policy proposal is a good idea but whether it is constitutional. “Where does the government get the power to do that?” is often critics’ rallying cry.

That’s a healthy development. For far too long, even in those rare moments when politicians were faced with constitutional concerns, they’ve had the attitude Nancy Pelosi did when asked about the authority for Obamacare’s individual mandate: “Are you serious?” Because, of course, constitutional arguments are the last refuge of the scoundrel who has no good policy arguments to make or political power to levy.

And so it’s a good thing that Americans are taking their founding document seriously. After all, the Constitution is the font of all federal power. Its carefully crafted structural provisions that we learned about in grade school, such as the separation of powers and checks and balances, are not merely an application of political theory.

“Federalism is more than an exercise in setting the boundary between different institutions of government for their own integrity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for a unanimous Supreme Court earlier this year. “By denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life,” Kennedy continued, “federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power.” If the federal government acts outside the scope of its delegated and carefully enumerated powers, then it’s no better than an armed mob.

The Obama administration and its allies in Congress have perpetrated more than their share of such mob-like actions. While it’s hard to narrow them down, here’s my stab at the government’s top 10 constitutional violations since President Obama took office.

1. The individual mandate

No list of President Obama’s constitutional violations would be complete without including the requirement that every American purchase health insurance, on penalty of civil fine. The individual mandate is unprecedented and exceeds Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce. If it is allowed to stand, Congress will be able to impose any kind of economic mandate as part of any kind of national regulatory scheme. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has a chance to strike this down during its current term.

2. Medicaid coercion

The Court will also be taking up Obamacare’s massive intrusion on federal-state relations in the form of a coercive Medicaid expansion. The law compels states to drastically increase their Medicaid expenditures and reorganize their health care bureaucracies, on penalty of losing all (not just additional) Medicaid funds. No state contemplated such a program when it signed onto Medicaid — Arizona was the last to join, in 1982 — and now no state can afford to withdraw. Indeed, even if some withdrawal mechanism existed, withdrawn states’ taxpayers would still be funding complying states’ Medicaid programs. As the Supreme Court held in South Dakota v. Dole, there comes a point when “the financial inducement offered by Congress might be so coercive as to pass the point at which pressure turns into compulsion.”

3. The Independent Payment Advisory Board (a.k.a. “The Death Panel”)

IPAB is the group of 15 presidential appointees who, beginning in 2014, are tasked with reducing Medicare spending. Any decisions IPAB makes automatically become law that can only be overridden by a three-fifths majority vote in the Senate. Unlike other federal agencies, IPAB is subject to no external review — no public notification in advance of proposed rules or opportunity for comment, no administrative guidelines and no judicial review. Medicare comprises about 13 percent of the federal budget, so that’s an awesome amount of power for Congress to delegate to unelected executive-branch bureaucrats. Indeed, it’s so basic a violation of traditional separation of powers that there’s no historical analog. The Goldwater Institute has filed a strong lawsuit challenging this (yet another) unprecedented aspect of Obamacare, which will continue wending its way through the lower courts regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on the individual mandate and Medicaid-coercion issues.

4. The Chrysler bailout

Building on the Bush administration’s illegal use of TARP funds to bail out the auto industry, the Obama administration bullied Chrysler’s secured creditors — who were entitled to “absolute priority” — into accepting 30 cents on the dollar, while junior creditors such as labor unions received much more. This subversion of creditor rights violates not just bankruptcy law but also the Constitution’s Takings and Due Process Clauses. This blatant crony capitalism — government-directed industrial policy to help political insiders — discourages investors and generally undermines confidence in American rule of law.

5. Dodd-Frank

Intended to remedy weaknesses in the U.S. financial system — ensuring transparency and accountability — the Dodd-Frank financial “reform” empowered unlimited, unreviewable and often secret bureaucratic discretion. The administrative bodies the legislation created face no constraints on the exercise of arbitrary authority. For example, the Treasury Department now has broad and essentially unchecked power to seize banks and other financial entities that it determines are unsound but “too big to fail.” The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Financial Stability Oversight Council, meanwhile, craft, execute and interpret their own law. Due process and separation of powers issues abound.

6. The deep-water drilling ban

Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Interior Department issued a blanket six-month moratorium on new oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. A federal judge struck down that moratorium as arbitrary and capricious, but the government issued a new order to replace the one that was struck down. That order was subsequently withdrawn, but the judge was so shocked by the administration’s conduct that he found the government in civil contempt of court.

7. Political-speech disclosure for federal contractors

In April of this year, President Obama released a draft executive order (still pending) that would require businesses with federal contracts to disclose independent expenditures on federal elections (political speech independent of candidates and parties). This order is intended to undermine the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision — allowing independent expenditures by corporations, unions and other associations — by discouraging federal contractors and their executives from engaging in political speech. Citizens United held that such expenditures do not enable the kind of quid pro quo corruption that campaign finance laws are allowed to regulate, so this draft executive order shows contempt for the First Amendment by chilling protected speech.

8. Taxing political contributions

Earlier this year, the IRS tried to muzzle political speech by asserting that donations to certain nonprofit advocacy groups (so-called 501(c)(4) organizations) would be subject to the gift tax. Historically, the IRS has not applied the gift tax in this way — donations to advocacy groups are not likely to be used to circumvent the estate tax — and when the IRS previously tried to tax political donations, it was rebuffed by the courts on the grounds that such transfers are not gifts (i.e., the donor is getting something in return). The IRS has since backed down, but the suspicion remains that it was trying to chill the political speech of those opposed to President Obama’s policies, in violation of the First Amendment.

9. Graphic tobacco warnings

Late last year, the FDA issued regulations requiring cigarette manufacturers to display graphic warnings on all packs of cigarettes that must cover at least 50% of the packaging and graphically portray tobacco-related illnesses. These warnings violate the First Amendment because the government is compelling the cigarette manufacturers to discourage their customers from buying their lawful products. Last month, a federal judge blocked the new regulation, which was due to go into effect in January, but the administration is appealing.

10. Health care waivers

The Department of Health and Human Services has granted nearly 2,000 waivers to employers seeking relief from Obamacare’s onerous regulations. Nearly 20 percent of these waivers went to gourmet restaurants and other businesses in Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district. Nevada, home to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, got a blanket waiver, while Republican-controlled states like Indiana and Louisiana were denied. Even beyond the unseemly political favoritism, such arbitrary dispensations violate a host of constitutional and administrative law provisions ranging from equal protection to the “intelligible principle” required for congressional delegation of authority to cabinet agencies. Unlike 17th-century English monarchs, American presidents were not granted dispensing powers: As we’ve seen, the power to suspend a legal requirement can and will be used to arbitrarily favor the politically connected. Moreover, most of these waivers were never authorized by Congress in the first place!

Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review.

It’s No Wonder a Plurality of Americans Want Obamacare Repealed – Heritage.com

 

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It’s No Wonder a Plurality of Americans Want Obamacare Repealed – Heritage.com.

Just as the Supreme Court has decided to take up the court cases challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, a new Gallup poll shows that the plurality of Americans–including even a plurality of independents–want to see the law repealed. Meanwhile, a new survey by the PwC Health Research Institute shows that health care and the deficit are tied as the second-most important issue in the presidential election, after jobs.

Gallup reports that, “Given a choice, 47% of Americans favor repealing the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, while 42% want it kept in place.” Breaking the numbers down by party affiliation, 80 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of independents, and 21 percent of Democrats are in favor of repealing the law. Among those who want to see it repealed, Gallup says that “66 percent of those favoring its repeal [say] it is very important that Congress take this action.”

The Gallup poll follows a report in late October by the Kaiser Family Foundation showing that 51 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of the law, while only 34 percent see it favorably, marking a “low point in Kaiser polls since the law was passed.” The reason: the decline in support was “driven by waning enthusiasm for the law among Democrats, among whom the share with a favorable view dropped from nearly two-thirds in September to just over half (52%) in October.”

There is good reason for the opposition and health care’s prominence in the presidential election. In 2011, the price of family health care premiums increased by 9 percent and, according to Kaiser Family Foundation CEO Drew Altman, Obamacare was responsible for approximately 20 percent of that increase. Those costs will only go higher as other parts of Obamacare are implemented. Heritage’s Kate Nix explains the effect of one such provision:

Obamacare institutes a premium tax on health insurers that offer full coverage beginning in 2014. Before it became law, Heritage expert Edmund Haislmaier wrote that such a tax would increase health care costs, increase taxes, create new inequities, be disingenuous, create perverse incentives, distort the market, and expand federal power.

In a recent study by the consulting firm Oliver Wyman showed that this tax will increase insurance premiums by, on average, 1.9 to 2.3 percent in 2014. The impact will grow with time, reaching 2.8 to 3.7 percent by 2023.

There’s even more to the story behind Obamacare’s unpopularity. This fall, Americans watched as the CLASS Act–the long-term care insurance component of the health care legislation–was put on the back burner as a result of its unsustainable cost, prompting Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to admit that the CLASS program can’t work, despite insisting earlier that it could (in the face of all evidence to the contrary). And since Obamacare was enacted, Americans have seen the federal government grant Obamacare waivers to unions and businesses to avoid loss of existing coverage caused by expensive new insurance requirements.

The new costs of the law are having a direct impact on America’s job creation. Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, testified before Congress that Obamacare will increase his company’s health care costs by an estimated $18 million per year—a 150 percent increase. That money would otherwise have been used to expand the company and create new jobs.

When Obamacare was enacted, Heritage president Ed Feulner said that, “Instead of empowering families and individuals to make their own choices, Obamacare empowers the bureaucracy to make those decisions for them.” Feulner predicted that though the left would say that the law would be popular with the American people, the realities of the law would turn public opinion in the opposite direction. In his words, ”Americans will not stand for it.” With the costs of health care increasing, the truth about Obamacare becoming more apparent, and opposition to the law growing, he appears to be right.

Shredding Kathleen Sebelius – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative

Kathleen Sebelius speaking after her official ...

Shredding Kathleen Sebelius – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative.

If a private health insurer had engaged in the kind of criminal obstruction that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been tied to in her home state of Kansas, it would be a federal case. Instead, it’s a non-story in the Washington press. Nothing to see here. Move along.

On Monday, a district judge in the Sunflower State suspended court proceedings in a high-profile criminal case against the abortion racketeers of Planned Parenthood. World Magazine, a Christian news publication, reported on new bombshell court filings showing that Kansas health officials “shredded documents related to felony charges the abortion giant faces.” World Magazine reported: “The health department failed to disclose that fact for six years, until it was forced to do so in the current felony case over whether it manufactured client records.”

The records are at the heart of the fraud case against Planned Parenthood. Kansas health bureaucrats now shrug that the destruction of these key documents — which they sheepishly admitted had “certain idiosyncrasies” — was “routine.” Who oversaw the agency accused of destroying the evidence six years ago? Sebelius.

As governor of Kansas, Sebelius fought transparency motions in the proceedings tooth and nail for years. Prosecutors allege a long-running heinous cover-up to manufacture false records of patients who had late-term abortions — and to whitewash Planned Parenthood’s systemic failures to report child rape.

Former GOP state Attorney General Phill Kline‘s investigation turned up massive discrepancies in reported child rape statistics compared to Planned Parenthood and the late late-term abortionist George Tiller‘s bogus claims. Planned Parenthood of Overland Park and Tiller together performed abortions on 166 girls aged 14 and under and only reported one each to authorities. So, 164 cases of underage rape or statutory rape went unreported and were not investigated by authorities.

Where is Joe Biden to decry actual rape atrocities and Nancy Pelosi to decry dire hazards to women’s health when we need them?

A Kansas district judge found probable cause of criminality in the abortion providers’ records; another district judge found probable cause to believe Planned Parenthood committed 107 criminal acts. Sebelius’ response? A bloody ideological soul mate of Tiller’s, she launched a vengeful witch-hunt against Kline. The state ethics board accused him of lying. The left-wing state Supreme Court Sebelius appointed stymied Kline’s subpoenas and appeals.

Kline was cleared of all ethics violations. In fact, for 20 full months, the state’s disciplinary board for lawyers suppressed an internal investigative report concluding there was zero probable cause to justify the ethics complaints.

Where there’s obstructionist smoke, there’s corruption fire. Under Sebelius’ watch as governor, an inspector general also reported that her appointed health policy board had “applied pressure to alter an audit report, restricted access to legal advice and threatened to fire her for meeting independently with legislators,” according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Entirely fitting, of course. The war on whistleblowers and inspectors general has been a hallmark of the current White House. And the radically pro-abortion rights Sebelius has ruled ruthlessly from her Beltway perch: policing citizen critics of Obamacare through a taxpayer-funded Internet snitch brigade; threatening private companies and insurers who have increased rates to cope with Obamacare coverage mandates; lashing out at newspapers who dare report on the costly consequences of the federal law.

As she bullies private companies to meet discriminatory and arbitrary disclosure demands, Sebelius has yet to be held accountable for overseeing state government agencies that conspired to hide the deadly truth about the Big Government/Big Abortion alliance from taxpayers. Like her boss in Washington, Sebelius’ political playbook has a single page: Destroy the messenger.